"I wouldn't buy a house close to sea level," says climate expert as Irish sea level rises 11 months ago

"I wouldn't buy a house close to sea level," says climate expert as Irish sea level rises

A new report has said global climate change is having an effect on Ireland's land, waters and atmosphere.

A climate lecturer at NUI Galway has stated he "wouldn't buy a house close to sea level" as a new report has said Ireland's sea level is rising.

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On Thursday, Met Éireann, the Marine Institute (MI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a report titled “The Status of Ireland’s Climate”, detailing how global changes are being reflected in the country's atmosphere, oceans and our landscape.

According to the report, the annual average surface air temperature in Ireland has increased by over 0.9oC over the last 120 years, with a rise in temperature being observed in all seasons.

On top of this, annual precipitation was 6% higher in the period from 1989 to 2018 compared to the period between 1961 to 1990, while the concentration of greenhouse gases measured in the country has continued to increase since 2012.

"Satellite observations indicate that the sea level around Ireland has risen by approximately 2-3mm per year since the early 1990s," Met Éireann also said.

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Asked about the effects of Ireland's rising sea level on RTÉ's News at One, lecturer of physical geography and climate in NUIG Gordon Bromley said the "most logical scenarios" show that more water in the oceans, coupled with high tides and more intense and frequent storms, will mean "a lot more coastal flooding".

"I'm in Galway city and I've seen it first hand just how the sea comes in and it floods the whole area of the city centre," Bromley stated.

On steps that could be taken to lessen these effects, the lecturer explained: "Basically our infrastructure, we've designed it around coastlines assuming that they're stable and that sea levels will not change... We know now, that's not true.

"So, it's going to take a lot of effort to sort of I think peel ourselves back from vulnerable coastlines and we're going to have to accept the fact that you cannot hold the sea back. It's never been done in the past and it's never going to work long term anywhere on this planet.

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"It's just so huge and sea level is continuing to rise and it will do at an accelerating rate."

Asked if people living near the sea will have to start thinking about whether where they live is viable, Bromley replied: "Yes absolutely... I wouldn't buy a house close to sea level.

"I feel that if we had been listening to the science sooner maybe... we wouldn't allow the buying and selling of land for housing or for whatever kind of construction really close to sea level."

On Monday, a report was released from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that has been described as a "code red for humanity".

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The report states that human factors are “unequivocally” the cause of rapid changes to sea levels, melting polar ice and glaciers, heatwaves, floods and droughts.

In a statement on Tuesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin called the report "hugely important" and said its publication "could not be more significant or timely, detailing the increasingly dangerous future that is ahead of us, unless action is taken by all of us, now".

The Taoiseach said that Ireland is "stepping up domestically" to the call for urgent climate action.

"The landmark Climate Act was signed into law on 23 July 2021, committing us to 51% emissions reduction by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050," Martin stated.

"The Climate Action Plan 2021 will be published this Autumn and will reflect our higher level emissions reduction ambition and will set out the direction of Ireland’s response to the deepening climate crisis. We will set out in detail, sector by sector, the targets and steps necessary to achieve our overall objectives.

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"The IPCC warns that the window of opportunity to act is closing. The time to act is now and Government is doing so. But Government on its own cannot make the difference required. In our Republic, every citizen, industry and community must embrace this challenge and make the decisions necessary for positive change.

"I am absolutely confident that we understand the scale of what needs to be done and that we are equal to the task."